i'm babita sharma in london. the headlines: the uk government gets the parliamentary green light for brexit negotiations as scotland's first minister announces she'll seek a second independence referendum. i believe that it would be wrong for scotla nd i believe that it would be wrong for scotland to be taken down a path that it has no control over. defending its recent missile tests. north korea accuses the us of pushing the region to the brink of nuclear war. i'm sharanjit leyl in singapore. aid agencies says it's the largest humanitarian crisis in over half a century. 20 million people now face a deadly famine. we're in somalia where the situation is critical. and why disney's re—make of beauty and the beast may not be hitting cinema screens in malaysia any time soon. live from our studios in london and
singapore. this is bbc world news. it's newsday. hello and welcome. it's 9am in singapore and iam in the morning here in london, where in the past few hours british parliament has given its final approval to a landmark law allowing the government to formally start the process of leaving the european union. earlier, scotland's first minister nicola sturgeon dropped a political bombshell, announcing plans for a second independence referendum prompted by opposition to brexit. britain's prime minister theresa may wasn't too impressed. let's hear from nicola sturgeon first. i will now take the steps necessary to make sure that scotland will have a choice at the end of this process. a choice of whether to follow the uk to a hard brexit,
or to become an independent country. instead of playing politics with the future of our country, the scottish government should focus on delivering good government and public services for the people of scotland. politics is not a game. a little earlier our political correspondent chris mason told me what will happen next. it was the final stage of the whole process of getting a law to give the british prime minister, theresa may, permission to say to brussels that the uk is going to leave the european union. you might think that is a bit odd. didn't british people leave the european union almost a year ago, so why couldn't she have just done it anyway? well, there was a challenge in the courts that courts that decided that there had to be this law for the brexit process to start. that took place a couple of months ago. since then, the legislation has been
working its way through the commons, the elected part of the british parliament, and the lords, the unelected, appointed part. tonight it passed its final hurdle in the house of lords, which means the bill will become an act. it will receive royal assent. it will become british law. but mrs may, the british prime minister, is not expected to go ahead and trigger article 50, the mechanism for starting the brexit process, for a couple of weeks yet, even though as of tomorrow morning she will actually have the power to do so. it's coming up to a year, a few months away from a year, when that referendum result took place. chris, you and i were both very busy that night. a lot of time was spent about scotland, and how it was going to vote, and the majority remain vote, which was the case in the end. today, tell us more
about the significance of what was said by scotland's first minister, and the ramifications of what she said. yes, here's the potted history of scotland in the uk. in 2014 they had an independence referendum in scotland, and there was a majority for staying within the uk. but the scottish national party, which dominates scottish politics and is pro—scottish independence, said that, if there was a significant change in scottish or uk politics, that would justify having another referendum. and they've said today, the first minister of scotland, nicola sturgeon, said look, the brexit referendum, and the uk leaving the european union is that significant moment because scotland voted to remain in the european union, whereas the uk as a whole voted to leave. she has said she wants another independence referendum in scotland within 18 months or two years, ie before the uk formally leaves the european union. it looks like the british prime minister, who has the legal power over the triggering of another scottish independence referendum, will try and postpone it as long as she can. let's take a look at some of the day's other news. the north korean ambassador to the un has been defending the country's recent
ballistic missile tests seen here blaming the united states and south korea for escalating tension that he says is pushing the region to the bring of nuclear war. as you know, the us and south korean forces kicked off the giant military manoeuvres, aimed at a pre—emptive nuclear strike against the dprk, only to push the situation to the brink of nuclear war. i asked our correspondent in seoul steve evans what he makes of north korea's statement. strong words about the missile tests, and about kimjong—nam, the half brother of kim jong—un, who was murdered last week in malaysia. the line from the dprk, as it calls itself, north korea, is that the murder of the half—brother was basically done by the us, and, quote, its vassal, south korea. that's because it wants to stoke up what it calls international
repugnance for north korea. now, north korea says that the vx nerve agent, that highly toxic poison which was smeared on the dead man's face, the us manufactures that. now, it has to be said that the malaysian authorities certainly don't believe that, and there is evidence pointing towards north korea. so, if you're looking from the outside, north korea is probably playing the two audiences. and that is a kind of a divided international audience, many people on the left in europe, who have some sympathy with north korea. but more importantly, information seeps into north korea, and there must be a question in the regime's mind about what ordinary north koreans make of the allegation that the leadership had a rival to the leadership assassinated. so there is a propaganda game going on here. as you say, steve, a game going on,
and certainly the blame game is rife here. but where are we exactly into the investigation of kim jong—nam's death, which occurred on 13 february? we are still at the situation where he has been identified by the malaysian authorities, on the basis largely, apparently, according to the malaysian press, of information which came from japan. kim jong—nam, bizarrely, tried to visitjapan in 2001 to go to disneyland there on a false passport, and was caught at it. and from that moment he fell out of favour in the north and lived in exile, presumably under chinese protection. the japanese authorities, apparently, have given information, mainly fingerprint information, but certainly information, about the moles on his face, for example. but what the malaysian authorities don't seem to have yet is watertight
dna evidence from the family, and that is presumably because the family is in hiding. steve evans in seoul. also making news today: the un's special rapporteur on human rights in myanmar has called for an urgent investigation into abuses against rohingya muslims. yanghee lee addressed the un human rights council in geneva today. earlier this month she released a report based on a 12—day trip to myanmar that detailed horrific claims of murder, rape and abuse. myanmar has rejected the allegations. a russian blogger is facing up to 7.5 years in prison for playing pokemon go in a church. the 22—year—old was arrested last year after posting a video of himself playing the famous game in a russian orthodox church. he's standing trial in the city of ekaterinburg
and has pleaded not guilty to mockery of religious beliefs and inciting religious hatred. malaysia's national football team says it's disappointed an asian cup qualifier against north korea was delayed due to diplomatic tensions between the two nations. the decision to postpone the march 28 game in pyongyang came after the assassination of kimjong—nam, the estranged half—brother of north korea's leader, in malaysia. these lucky elephants in thailand's ancient capital ayut—thaya have been treated to a fruit buffet. it's all part of elephant day, an annual event that aims to remind thais of the animals‘ significance and support efforts to protect them. it's estimated there are about 3,700 elephants in the wild in thailand and up to 4,000 domesticated ones. conservationists want to reduce the number of animals being ridden by tourists or performing in shows. aid agencies are warning
that time is running out to save more than 20 million people who are facing famine in africa and the middle east. the united nations says the crisis in nigeria, south sudan and yemen threatens to be the worst for 60 years. it's left nearly three million people without enough water and food and vulnerable to disease. 0ur correspondent andrew harding is in baidoa in south—west somalia. you may find some of the images in his report distressing. this is baidoa, a town besieged by two unforgiving enemies. the soldiers are here to guard against al—shabab, the militant islamists controlling the countryside in this corner of somalia.
but it's the second enemy, drought, that is now far more dangerous. nine—year—old ali has just been carried into the local hospital. he's unconscious. but it's not from hunger. not yet. after three years of failed rains, clean water is hard to find. the doctors here believe they are battling a sudden outbreak of cholera. inside, weak from diarrhoea, dozens of new cases. many families have walked miles get help. it's a cruel, opening salvo of disease before famine marches into town. we are feeling this situation is getting very bad. out of control? yes. due to the disease outbreak, this is totally different. and can you deal with that? with our capacity, no. for now, there's an orderly queue at baidoa's main well. a nurse has volunteered to oversee the rationing. but every day more people are coming into town
from the parched countryside. the famine is going fast, very fast. there isn't enough food. there isn't enough water. and the problem is very big. like any town under siege, this one is digging in and praying that reinforcements arrive soon. as things stand, they only have enough supplies here to help one in ten of those who need it. and there's little doubt things are going to get a lot worse. new arrivals seeking shade on the edge of town. during the last famine in 2011, many left it too late before moving to seek help. so maybe this counts as progress. but it's hard to get the timing right in such a gruelling climate. this woman buried herfour—year—old daughter and five—year—old son on thejourney here, probably cholera again. and what happens if the aid supplies run out?
those helping say the main lesson of 2011 is to sound the alarm early. what we want to do different is we want to say there is a famine that is coming. we are sure it is going to come, and especially if the april rains fail. so what we are saying is get us help now, get us the resources we need now, and we will save the children that need to be saved. and look how easy it can be. after 15 minutes of treatment in hospital, nine—year—old ali opens his eyes and asks his father for water. in a besieged town, one life saved, many more to go. andrew harding, bbc news, baidoa, somalia. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme: police call it a brutal harvesting operation. the bbc meets some of the victims of pakistan's illegal trade in human organs.
also on the programme: disney postpones the opening of its new film beauty and the beast in malaysia. is it because of a controversy over gay character? the numbers of dead and wounded defied belief. this the worst terrorist atrocity on european soil in modern times. in less than 2a hours then the soviet union lost an elderly sick leader and replaced him with a dynamic figure 20 years his junior. we heard these gunshots in the gym. then he came out through a fire exit and started firing at our huts. god, we were all petrified. james earl ray, aged 41, sentenced to 99 years and due for parole when he's 90, travelled from memphis jail to nashville state prison in an eight—car convoy. paul, what's it feel like to be married at last? it feels fine, thank you.
what are you going to do now? is it going to change your life much do you think? i don't know really. i've never been married before. this is newsday on the bbc. i'm sharanjit leyl in singapore. i'm babita sharma in london. our top stories: as the uk government gets the parliamentary green light for brexit negotiations, scotland's first minister announces she'll seek a second independence referendum. north korea's ambassador to the un says military exercises carried out by south korea and the us are pushing the region to the brink of nuclear war. let's take a look at some front pages from around the world. the japan times has this story about the country's biggest warship heading to the south china sea. the paper reports that the vessel will train with the us navy,
and tour the region for three months before returning home in the summer. china daily covers the final day of the national people's congress. around 2,000 delegates have attended the session in beijing's great hall over the last 11 days — and over 5,000 proposals have been put forward. and the south china morning post leads on the highly anticipated meeting between donald trump and president xi. citing us media reports, the paper writes that a summit will take place early next month at president trump's mar—a—lago estate in florida. but it's emphasised that neither washington nor beijing have confirmed the meeting. now, what stories are sparking discussions online? well, the story of korean billy has been most watched on our website for the past 2a hours. here he is.
billy is so enthusiastic about british accents, that he published a series of video explainers about local dialects, and became an internet star. bbc trending spoke to him. you can watch the interview on our website. a global shortage of donated kidneys has seen the illegal organ trade flourish in pakistan. late last year police uncovered a brutal harvesting operation in the city of rawalpindi. two dozen people had been lured with offers of jobs, but were instead held hostage for months in squalid conditions. the bbc‘s nosheen abbas met some of them. sahdi ahmed was saved just in time before he was going to be operated on. he was tricked into the illegal operation of kidneys via a man but when he was driven to his destination, he soon found out the awful truth. translation: when i entered
the building, there were 25—35 people already sitting there. one of them said, "why have you come?" they all looked worried so i asked them why. i said i had come for a job. they said they had not been told aboutjobs and three men had been taken away and none of them knew where they had gone. in october last year, sahdi was one of 2a people rescued by police. the victims were imprisoned in a building in a busy suburb. even though this plaza is situated in a bustling area, it is tucked away. there is construction going on. so when the rescue happened, it was not easy to find them insta ntly. they were kept here in some of these rooms. the officers say when they found them, they were in deplorable conditions, their health was deteriorating and they were emotionally helpless. about 100 illegal transplants take place in pakistani each month. the cost ranges between
us$50,000 and $60,000. the trafficking ring has been broken up although there are many others operating across pakistan but all that has come too late for another victim who chooses to remain anonymous. months earlier, he had his kidney forcibly removed by the gang with serious consequences. he has been left traumatised. translation: they did an ultrasound and told me i had kidney stones and needed an operation. after the operation, for two days, i did not know where i was and after i came home, i felt unwell so i got some medication and went for a check—up. i got another ultrasound. i asked the doctor if everything was ok and he told me i was unwell because i had a missing kidney. since then, my stomach and body has become bloated. while there are laws against illegal transplants, they are poorly implemented, leaving those in poverty vulnerable to black—market operations
but with the recent arrests now before the courts, the case is hoped to go some way towards stopping the exploitation. nosheen abbas, bbc news, islamabad. the countdown to the next commonwealth games in australia is under way. the queen launched the games‘ baton relay at buckingham palace on monday, and over the next 388 days it will visit all of the commonwealth nations and territories before arriving on australia's gold coast. our royal correspondent nicholas witchell followed the events. it is said to be the third—largest multisport event in the world, the commonwealth games, bringing together countries which between them represent roughly one third of the world's population. the venue for next year's games will be australia's gold coast. the queen will not be there herself but the message from her as head of the commonwealth will.
she placed the message in the baton which will be carried to all the countries of the commonwealth to arrive on the gold coast in april of next year. the baton relay was started by the australian track cyclist anna meares. she was joined by britain's victoria pendleton and then to add another australian touch, it was transferred to a combi, the camper van used by so many generations of surfers which trundled off down the mall at the start of the 140,000 milejourney. four years ago it was sir chris hoy who did the honours, launching the baton relay to the city of glasgow, the 2014 venue. the route over the next 13 months will be much the same, taking the baton to every commonwealth nation and territory. so it will travel across much of africa. to the indian subcontinent, where four years ago it was taken by steam train in sri lanka. and two tiny islands in the pacific. a reminder of the scale of the commonwealth
and of the cultural and historic links which bind its 52 member nations. in april next year, in australia, the commonwealth's sporting rivalries will be resumed, but in the context of a sporting event, which like the commonwealth, as self showing respect and mutual understanding. and if a city fancies hosting such an event in 2022, there is a vacancy. durban has just pulled out. nicholas witchell, bbc news. the new disney movie beauty and the beast hits cinemas across the world but in malaysia its release has been postponed. no specific reason has been given for the decision. but a spokesperson for disney reportedly told malaysian media that the film had caused controversy because it included a gay character. it comes after a russian mp petitioned to ban the film for that same reason. earlier i spoke to garethjohnson from the webmagazine gay star news, which specialises in lgbti issues. i began by asking him
what his reaction to the news was? on the face of it, pretty disappointing. we are reading between the lines of it but with russia making it an adults—only movie, this sends a negative signal from a country which doesn't have a great record on censorship. are you surprised? i think yes because in a way, the reference that is being talked about in the movie is so subtle and so cleverly and intelligently done, it is not an over—the—top gay reference in that sense. it is a fully realised character. but malaysia does tend to overreact to these things. the character we are talking about, lefou, which is played by the actor josh gad... you have seen the film? it's great. what was the significance of this character with his plot line? the director, bill condon, has talked about this a little bit. it is significant because according to him it is disney's first openly
gay character and that is a big dealfor a studio which was tightly controlled. there has been gay signals and references previously but this is the first time we have seen the character who is just a being who he is. so for you, a big shift? in the context of somewhere like the uk or the us, it is not perhaps such a big deal because we are used to seeing gay characters. but not in a disney movie. that is a big move for them. i am sure they are not enjoying the controversy. but so far, they are holding their noses. we are yet to find out what malaysia is going to do but would you be particularly surprised if they said they were going to ban it? anything is possible. they probably haven't seen the movie so they might be overreacting. but that sends a bad signal
to lgbtqi people in malaysia who want to see positive representations. it is important for their identity. it is sad that they don't get to see this movie. gareth johnson speaking there. you have been watching newsday. stay with us. as britain moves closer to its divorce from the european union we'll be looking at what it all means. and before we go, let's take a look at these incredible pictures from new york state in the us. this house on the shore of lake ontario is encased in ice thanks to five days of strong winds and cold temperatures. forecasters are warning east coast residents — from boston to new york city — to prepare for what could be one of the biggest snowstorms in recent memory. that's all for now — stay with bbc world news. hello there.
the relatively settled theme to the weather continues for at least a couple of days. relatively mild during the day on tuesday but breezy for many of us, particularly windy across northern parts of scotland where the met office have issued a yellow warning for the strength of the winds, causing some disruption for the northern isles of scotland with heavy showers on the cards. further south, most places looking dry first thing tuesday morning. pretty mild too. around the country at eight o'clock, heavy showers for the northern and western isles with the odd rumble of thunder in line with those strong winds and some big waves. much of scotland and northern ireland, a bright start for most. some isolated showers. cloudy for northern england. down to wales and the south—west. a bit of hill fog. for much of england and central eastern parts, relatively bright. some sunny spells breaking through. a cloudier day than we saw during monday. most places, dry. strong winds, gusts up to 70 miles per hour developing
across the northern isles of scotland. heavy showers too. less breezy elsewhere, still mild for this time of year. in the sunnier spells, 15 or 16 degrees. a degree or so higher in one or two spots. the first day the cheltenham festival, decent day. cloud but quite bright. mild, 13 or 14 degrees with a gentle south—westerly breeze. through the latter part of tuesday evening and overnight, a few spots of light patchy rain moving south across england and wales. cloudy with some mist and hill fog. further north, clearer skies. particularly northern england and scotland and northern ireland. pressure first thing. wednesday is looking like a decent day for many of us. high pressure in charge. variable cloud. cloudy towards the south and south—west for a time. the best of the sunshine towards north—eastern parts of the country. some rain in the far north—west but elsewhere dry and temperatures still in the mid—teens.
pleasant enough day on wednesday. thursday, a bit of a change. the atlantic low pressure system bringing this fairly weak weather front. breezy day on thursday. expecially in the north—west. it is here we will see a few outbreaks of light patchy rain. further south and east across much of england and wales, still mild and dry. 14 degrees or so. slightly fresher towards the north—west. that fresher theme continues into friday and saturday and things will feel a bit more unsettled into the weekend. bye for now. i'm babita sharma with bbc world news. the uk parliament has passed a bill that enables the government to start the process of leaving the eu. and this as scotland's first minister said she'll seek a second independence referendum. north korea's ambassador to the un has defended his country's recent missile test and accused the us. and south korea of pushing tensions in the region to the brink
of nuclear war. and this story is trending on bbc.com. disney has postponed the opening of its new film beauty and the beast in malaysia. no official reason has been given. the film has courted controversy over the inclusion of a gay character. that's all from me now. stay with bbc world news. and in addition to brexit, the top story here in the uk: rail services on some of the busiest lines in england have been disrupted because of a 24—hour union strike. the walkout is part of a row over changes to the role of conductors